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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Summit yields demands for those accused of domestic violence to wear monitoring devices

Rep. Wanda del Valle Correa

By The Star Staff

As promised after Monday’s emergency meeting to which top island government officials were summoned, Rep. Wanda del Valle has filed a measure “with which we seek, at all costs, that those accused of violence [under Law 54] must wear an electronic shackle at all times.”

“In this way, we are doing great justice to the dozens of women who see their lives taken at the hands of their aggressors,” said the author of House Bill 2012. “With this one, we give more scope to Law 89 [which goes into force this Sunday].”

“Electronic monitoring is the most important element,” del Valle insisted on Wednesday. “With this in mind, what we seek, with the bill, is that as soon as the court finds cause for arrest, in view of Rule 6, an electronic shackle is mandatorily imposed.”

“Enough of the deaths of women continuing to occupy the front pages of newspapers, television news and radio programs,” she added.

“Article 2 establishes as a public policy the creation of the Surveillance, Protection and Prevention Program to deal with criminal cases of domestic violence,” the legislator continued. “In every case, in which bail is authorized, after a determination of cause. The bond must [...] be imposed, on a non-discretionary basis, and as a condition of the bond, the installation of electronic supervision of all defendants in the commission of any crime defined in Law 54.

Del Valle said the bill’s stricter language stems in part as a result of the recommendations of Women’s Advocate Madeline Bermúdez Sanabria and prosecutors.

“Men, if you’re going to put your hands on women, let it be to caress them and only with their consent,” the District 38 lawmaker said. “And if you’re going to yell at them, let it be so that the whole world will know about how much you love them.”

Also on Wednesday, Brenda Pérez Soto, an educator and Senate candidate for the District of Arecibo under the New Progressive Party banner, expressed outrage over the situation and the reaction of various government institutions, and demanded that Law No. 59 of 2017 be amended in the appropriate forums.

Pérez Soto noted that the law was instituted to create the “Registry of Persons Convicted of Violations of the Law on Prevention and Intervention with Domestic Violence” and has room to be amended, since the law was created, for among other reasons, to make a list of Law 54 violators.

“In the face of the unprecedented crisis on our island, this law must be amended immediately,” the candidate said. “For example, in classification 1, which are those who have been accused, but for some reason, the couple, after having filed, desist from continuing with the process, remains as an area of uncertainty.”

“... To date, the list has not been updated; it does not have the name, photo, or address of the aggressors,” she said. “That’s where they should start, so that people can identify these aggressors who are walking around, often as if nothing had happened, without any consequences, in our communities.”

The school director added: “Certainly, women have become a symbol of mistreatment for many people in Puerto Rico, as if women were private property.”

“When she decides to flee, she is often not taken care of in the right way and the laws are not applied as they should be,” Pérez Soto said. “There has to be a complete structure for us to be able to work with this issue, all united. We immediately ask our legislature to amend Act 59 of 2017 to create greater restrictions and that the lists have to be broader so that people in Puerto Rico have access in order to know who these people are who are dedicated to mistreating women.”

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